Controversial, Not Controversial. Brennan v. Hagel, Big Oil vs Solar & other Media Hypocrisies

Summary:  Juan Cole looks at the views of mainstream journalists, which by repetition tend to become America’s views.  They’re simple, if somewhat crazy.  But we’re not to think about them, just absorb them.



Guest post by Juan Cole

From his website Informed Comment.
Reposted with his generous permission.


Not controversialJohn Brennan: Served in CIA during the torture program, designed the current US drone program that has extra-judicially killed hundreds, including children and including at least 2 American citizens.

Controversial: Chuck Hagel: Thinks war should be a last resort, doesn’t think an air strike on Iran would be effective, wants to do diplomacy with all major factions of the State of Palestine, including Hamas.

Not controversial: Wealthy Americans use government tax loopholes and subsidies to avoid $3 trillion a year in taxes.

Controversial: American workers who paid into Social Security all their lives and want their money back when they retire are accused of being ‘takers,’ ‘moochers’ and seeking ‘entitlements.’


Not controversial: Despite an alleged need to raise government revenue and cut spending, the ‘fiscal cliff’ deal awarded Big Oil billions of dollars in subsidies at a time when the US has the highest per person carbon emissions of any advanced industrial country and those emissions are threatening human welfare via climate change.

Controversial: Despite the large numbers of successful solar companies, the impressive increase in electricity supplied by solar in the US, the investment of $2 bn. in the solar industry by financier Warren Buffett – nevertheless, the press narrative is still dominated by the allegation that modest Federal support for green energy is a boondoggle (inaccurately instancing Solyndra).

Controversial: Senator Tom Harkin has met resistance to his proposal to raise the minimum wage, even though many full-time minimum wage workers fall below the poverty line.

Not controversial: The banks and investment firms that caused the 2008 crash and mortgage crisis have avoided any real accountability save for slap on the wrist fines, and could well plunge us into another such crisis. The vast numbers of Americans who lost their mortgages to bank fraud have not seen nearly the help promised.


About the Author

Juan Cole is a Professor of History at the University of Michigan.  His focus has been the history of modern Egypt.  He has many journal articles and book chapters on Egypt.  He has also written about Islam, especially its radical manifestations.

Having converted to the Bahá’í Faith in 1972, Cole has written about its history. He “resigned: from the religion after being threatened with being shunned by the Baha’i authorities, who criticized his academic scholarship as “materialistic.”

Cole has translated three volumes of his Arabic-language literary writings of Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and artist.

Since 2002, Cole has published the blog Informed Comment, covering “History, Middle East, South Asia, Religious Studies, and the War on Terror”.


Source:  Wikipedia entry on Juan Cole.


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For More Information

Posts about the mainstream media;

  1. A time-saving tip when reading the daily news
  2. Only our amnesia makes reading the newspapers bearable
  3. “Elegy for a rubber stamp”, by Lewis Lapham
  4. “The Death of Deep Throat and the Crisis of Journalism”
  5. The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder
  6. The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world
  7. We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information
  8. We know nothing because we read newspapers – About mythical numbers
  9. The Raymond Davis incident shows that we’re often ignorant because we rely on the US news media.  There is a solution.





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